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Telenor become world's biggest satellite mobile provider

Norway's largest telecommunications operator, Telenor acquired COMSAT Mobile Communications on Wednesday from Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications in the USA for $116.5m, according to the Financial Times. The deal means Telenor move from being the third-largest satellite mobile service provider to the world's biggest, with a 30 per cent market share based on traffic minutes. The niche service enables Telenor's customers, such as the United Nations, to make satellite phone calls from remote areas such as deserts. Together with Telenor's earth station in Eik, Norway, Telenor will now be able to offer global coverage for satellite mobile communication services. Ole Petter Kjerkreit, an Oslo-based telecoms analyst at First Securities, said Telenor paid a satisfactory price for the COMSAT assets, but the acquisition itself was not a major deal for Telenor, which will see its share of total revenues from mobile satellites rise from 1 per cent to only 2 per cent. He told FT.com: "Instead of increasing its exposure in satellite mobile, Telnor should focus on its core business," Mr Kjerkreit said. "I don't see that big synergies with the rest of the organisation." By purchasing COMSAT Telenor have made a new geographic connection in the Pacific Ocean region and made inroads into the US market within shipping, aviation and the Federal Aviation Authority. This is not the first deal between Telenor and Lockheed. In September, Lockheed sold its 8.2 per cent share holding in Inmarsat, a satellite communications provider, to Telenor for $164m.